30CY European Herring Gull (ZDGA)FAMA – 20150307

Tonight 30th-calendar year European Herring Gull Green F.AMA (formerly known as ZDGA) showed herself well: I was able to observe her for the regular 30 minutes on a Saturday evening at the local fish market in Leiden.



She looked to be in very good shape and was very active: she flew around regularly and used her favorite spots on the rooftops to keep an eye on things below her.






Food scraps were hard to come by because of all the people walking around so even though she came down to the ground at least twice I don’t think she was able to eat from the leftovers.


Length of secondary S1

During last week’s short photoshoot, I noticed that secondary S1 seemed to be shorter than it should be. This was confirmed in the clearer photos that I was able to take tonight. I’m not sure what is going on and what the reason for this could be (S1 is the first of the secondaries to be replaced, maybe there was a short stop in the moult proces?) We’ll see if and how this develops over the coming weeks and months.


F is for female

We have always believed that ZDGA was a male based on its features and heavy looking bill. This turned out not to be the case: the measurements that were taken when ZDGA was fitted with new rings (length of the wing and the head), puts FAMA in the upper region of measurements that are typical for females.

This is shown in the following diagram (kindly provided by gull researcher Kees Camphuysen) where FAMA is depicted by the red dot (representing a wing length of 406mm on the x-axis and a head length of 115.7mm on the y-axis):


It is therefore appropriate that she was recently fitted with color ring Green FAMA (sort of by chance): in the project that these rings are normally used F stands for female.

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